Trump Administration Notifies US Missions Abroad That It Is Preparing to Declare Jerusalem as Israel’s Capital

Reports coming in from Israel indicate that the Trump administration has notified US missions abroad that  the Trump Administration is planning to formally recognize Jerusalem as the “undivided” capital of Israel and to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem at a later unspecified date in the future.

The Trump administration has begun notifying U.S. embassies overseas about the plan so envoys can inform their host governments and prepare for possible protests. Officials said the plans weren’t final, however, and the U.S. was working through additional legal and policy considerations. A formal announcement could come as early as next week, the officials said.

“The president has always said it is a matter of when, not if,” a White House spokesman said when asked about moving the embassy. “The president is still considering options and we have nothing to announce.”

 The disclosures about the potential move come as President Donald Trump faces an early December deadline under U.S. law to move the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem or sign a presidential waiver to keep it in Tel Aviv.

It was unclear what Mr. Trump will decide on the waiver question, but officials said one option would be to recognize Jerusalem as the capital and announce plans for the embassy move, but postpone the actual relocation for several years. In the interim, the U.S. ambassador to Israel could work from Jerusalem instead of Tel Aviv, the current site of the U.S. Embassy.

“President Donald Trump is actively considering when and how to move the American embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem,” Pence said Tuesday at an event in New York organized by the Israeli mission to the United Nations in partnership with the World Jewish Congress marking the 70th anniversary of the U.N. General Assembly vote to recognize Israel on Nov. 29, 1947.

US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman said earlier this month that it his belief that President Trump would in fact move the embassy, calling tit a matter of “when, not if”.

“The president has also made clear that he intends to move the United States embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. It is not a question of if, it is a question of when. And I take the president at his word, and I’m personally committed to do all that I can to advocate for this move,” Friedman said.

Trump campaigned on a promise to move the embassy, but has walked back from the pledge as president. A number of other presidents similarly campaigned on a promise to move the embassy but reneged in office.

 

 

 

 

 

WSJ Contributed to this story.